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Friday, July 21, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-21-2017

Chicago Eagle, July 21, 1917:

Bob Veach of the Tigers wants to know if hitting a ball over the bull sign entitles a batter to $50 the same as actually hitting the sign. In one of the games Detroit played in Washington Veach sent the ball clear over the sign for one of the longest drives ever seen in Washington. It is some trick to hit the sign there, let alone clear it.

Elsewhere on the same newspaper page, former big league catcher Ted Easterly is released on probation after a conviction for passing a bad check, an upheld protest drops Hank Gowdy’s batting average from .324 to .250, and Clark Griffith is not happy about the American League’s efforts to relocate his ballclub.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 10:27 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-20-2017

Pittsburgh Press, July 20, 1917:

McKee, of the San Francisco team, in a game against Salt Lake city recently started from second for third as the opposing pitcher wound up, the bases being full at the time. The runner on third frantically waved the man back. But the runner kept on and the pitcher who had begun his motion committed the error of turning and throwing the ball to second. As a result of the balk the man on third was permitted to walk home and the erratic McKees took third.

“I meant to do that.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 20, 2017 at 12:41 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-19-2017

Grand Forks Herald, July 19, 1917:

It was reported recently on the highest authority in administration circles that the government would draft no major league baseball players for the war.

...the main reason for not interfering with baseball is because of the big part taken by big league baseball owners in urging recruiting and helping in army and Red Cross charities. The drilling of the baseball players has served to gain recruits for all branches of the service.

Moreover the government does not think it good policy to disturb America’s greatest outdoor sport.

Eventually, the director of the military draft decreed that baseball players would have to register for service.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 19, 2017 at 10:17 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-18-2017

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, July 18, 1917:

J. Franklin Baker of the Yankees was yesterday exonerated of blame for the alleged tampering with a player to influence him in jumping his contract with the St. Louis Browns. The exoneration followed the receipt of a letter from Baker in which he denied that he had approached Allen Sothoron, pitcher, to induce him to leave the Browns and join the Upland club of the Delaware County league in Pennsylvania.

Well, that answers the question I posed yesterday about the identity of the mysterious independent club. Now I’m trying to figure out how a team in the Delaware County League would have the financial resources to get big leaguers to jump their contracts.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, July 17, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-17-2017

Pittsburgh Press, July 17, 1917:

If agents of a mysterious independent club in the east have been dickering with George Sisler by mail, telegraph or phone, trying to get Sis to quit the Browns, their efforts have not beein received by Sisler.
...
Not only Sisler but Allan Sothoron, Tom Rogers and Earl Hamilton—these four members of the eighth-placers have received attractive offers to quit the Browns and join this mysterious independent organization in the east.
...
[Sisler:] “No one has come to me with an offer. If anyone would I would refuse it…I have not been approached and I would not consider an offer.”

Does anyone know anything about this mysterious outlaw organization? I know so little about it that I don’t even know how to look for more information.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 17, 2017 at 10:11 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Saturday, July 15, 2017

MLB Has a Long But Little-Known History of Rebels, Reformers, and Radicals

From his legal training, Ward recognized baseball contracts’ unfairness. In 1885, he organized the Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players, the first labor union in American sports. Two years later, he published “Is the Base-Ball Player a Chattel?” accusing team owners of “wage slavery.”

Baseball magnates colluded with each other, primarily through the reserve clause, which bound players to their teams but allowed owners to release them without pay. Even after profits tripled in the 1880s, the owners imposed meager wages and extra duties — rent for uniforms, meal fees — on their workers.

Much of this was new to me. Granted, the source is Jacobin so it comes within a certain… framework… but it’s good longform, so I figured it was worth sharing and was wondering what my fellow Primates would make of it.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-14-2017

Chicago Eagle, July 14, 1917:

...the magnitude of the sugar industry in the continent south of us, resulting from the demand growing out of the war, has attracted many Cuban baseball players to the continent and these men have organized baseball teams and started to play the great American game.
...
As a result, baseball promises to become at least as well known, if not as popular, in Latin America as it is in the West Indies. The South Americans are a sport-loving people, and once the fascination of the old cry “Play ball” fastens itself on them, there should be a wave of enthusiastic response throughout the continent.

Well, at least on the northern edges of the continent.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 14, 2017 at 10:04 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-13-2017

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, July 13, 1917:

One of the queerest plays that ever happened on a baseball diamond came in the fourth inning of the second game [of a doubleheader between the Giants and Reds].
...
Two men were out and Chase was on second base when Neale came to bat. As Perritt started to wind up preperatory to pitching a fan threw back a ball which had been fouled into the stands…Harrison, the field umpire, called time. Perritt, who already was in the act of pitching, let the ball go and Neale walloped it to the fence in right-centre for a clean home run.
...
O’Day, the plate umpire, consulted with [field umpire] Harrison and then ordered Chase back to second and Neale to bat again.

Neale then singled to left, scoring Chase, but was out trying to stretch the hit.

I feel like people would absolutely lose their minds if something like this happened these days. From what I can tell via Retrosheet, the most recent incidence of a contentious “time” call ruining a home run came on September 6, 1978, when a paper airplane landed on the field a split second before John Lowenstein took Paul Hartzell deep.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Why baseball purists will always be wrong

It does not take too much digging to find baseball obituaries offered for, among other things: the advent of televised games, the designated hitter, the wild card, the league that won the All-Star Game being handed home-field advantage for the World Series. The game has escaped imminent demise more often than James Bond. It always has been evolving — in rules, in style of play, in embracing technology.

“This is a historic fact — every innovation in base ball has been bitterly fought until finally adopted.” That was written by Malcom McLean and reprinted for the Sporting News … of Oct. 23, 1913.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said: “The death knell for any enterprise is to glorify the past, no matter how good it was.” That goes for the enterprise of baseball, as well. No matter how wonderful the past, an open mind must be kept for the future.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 12, 2017 at 02:36 PM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: history, joel sherman, purists

Taking Back the Ballparks

In two years, the Seattle Mariners will have a new stadium to call home, without changing their address. The ballpark to be formerly known as Safeco Field is undergoing a corporate name change. In 2019, King Felix, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager will be playing in Boeing Park, or Microsoft Yards or Starbucks Lot. Whatever the new moniker, chances are it will be a downgrade.

As corporate names go, Safeco isn’t bad, much closer to Citi Field than Guaranteed Rate Field. But even if the new name is truly representative of Seattle, Poppy Fields, for instance, we still lose. Names really aren’t made for the name holder, but for the rest of us. My name (whether that’s the one on my birth certificate or my handle here at BTF) is primarily used by others, as a means to identify me. Changing it regularly would be a disservice to those who know me. It’s no different for stadia.

The question is, why do we go along with it? That some well-heeled corporate sugar daddy is willing to fork over big bucks to the local extortionist baseball owner for naming rights doesn’t mean we have to play along. Why should we be forced to follow all the latest merger and acquisition activity to keep up with the name outside that limestone and steel ode to corporate welfare?

Truth is, we shouldn’t. Until Delta Airlines or T-Mobile or Geico wants to cut us a check, we ought to just pick a name for the local ballpark and stick with it. No longer should we be required to know which telecommunications company is out front in the Bay Area or, which banking institution has bundled its way to supremacy in the Midwest to know where our favorite team is playing this weekend.

Starting next week, we’re going to change that. Through this effort, BTF is going to establish new names, or at least validate the old ones, for all 30 ballparks. If you think Houston can do better than Minute Maid Park (and who doesn’t?), then let’s find a better name for the joint. Or, if you think the park at Clark and Addison can be known as nothing but Wrigley, that’s cool too.

Every few weeks, I’ll introduce a different team, and solicit suggestions for a new name for the team’s ballpark. Perhaps the park is located adjacent to an interesting geographic feature of its host city, or near the site of an important event in history. Maybe there’s an interesting baseball connection, either with the home team or a ballplayer from the past. A significant local industry might have called that area of the city home at one point in time. I’m looking for the kind of name that will be unique to its home city, and one that can stand the test of time.

I’ll open up a new page at BTF, at my newly created, still-unvisited blog here, and maybe a few other places on the tubes, for nominations. At the end of the nomination period, I’ll hash out the best options among the nominees with a few like-minded Primates and we’ll offer a choice of three or four to vote on the following week.* Voting will take place exclusively here.

Ideally, when we’re done, and this project hasn’t suffered the same fate as the Count The Rings Great 28 Unfinished Symphony, we’ll have a nice collection of distinct names that online baseball fans can use for each major league ballpark. And there’s not a damn thing MLB, the owners, the players, the media and anyone else can do about it. Taco Bell’s chief execs can toss a bunch of cash at some poor beleaguered billionaire owner, but they can’t force us to use Gordita Supreme Stadium in everyday conversation.

* Yeah, we’re picking the finalists. Boaty McBoatface was marginally funny. Once.

SoSH U at work Posted: July 12, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 77 comment(s)
  Beats: history, stadium names

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-12-2017

Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader-Journal, July 12, 1917:

When the Providence International league team arrived in Newark, N.J., recently to play the Bears they discovered that Tom Needham’s players were unable to take the field. The trunks and grips in which Newark’s bats, gloves, masks, shoes and uniforms were packed had gone astray, and President Price was at a loss to know what had become of them. So the game had to be postponed. The Providence and Newark players had an afternoon off and made tracks for New York to see how big league baseball looked.

Bats, gloves, masks, shoes, and uniforms do seem like the sorts of things you’d need in order to play baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 12, 2017 at 09:38 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Origin of the All-Star Game

By 1933, the Great Depression had ensnared all aspects of American society, reducing life for many to a scramble to acquire the most basic necessities. Unemployment rose to 25 percent, and roughly 33 million people were left without a source of income. After the bank collapse earlier that year, millions lost their savings, leaving them homeless and forcing families to part ways with their children. Cities and the countryside alike were ravaged, decimating both the middle and working classes, forcing millions of little Oliver Twists to roam the streets.

As such, entertainment became a luxury, available only to the wealthy and those willing to sacrifice other necessities to partake in it. Across the National and American leagues, attendance dropped by 40 percent and player salaries correspondingly shrunk by 25 percent. Baseball, and America as a whole, was in dire need of a morale boost. Sensing this need, Chicago Tribune sports writer and editor Arch Ward called for a star-studded baseball game that would coincide with the World Fair “Century of Progress” exposition celebrating Chicago’s centennial.

Ward began writing columns espousing the hypothetical virtues of such an event, asserting it would increase ticket sales across both leagues and provide an opportunity for the older NL to prove itself against the more dominant AL. Shortly after creating the idea, Ward named it the “Game of the Century,” a term that proved instrumental to its success by creating an automatic aura around it and billing it as a can’t-miss attraction. Ward’s connections to baseball executives and players would create an easy set-up for the game, and his die-hard readers would provide a staunch initial audience.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 11, 2017 at 05:26 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: all-star game, history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-11-2017

Washington Times, July 11, 1917:

There are two reasons why [Washington lost to Detroit yesterday].

One is that just before the game Mr. Jennings fired Alexander Rivers, a high-priced, dark-skinned mascot, who recently was imported from New Orleans, at much expense, and who has specialized in bringing bad luck, instead of good. The other was the introduction of Doc Ayers in the seventh inning.

No runs were scored off the Doctor. Very few ever are made off him by Detroit…There’s something uncanny about the way things break against Ayers when he faces Detroit. The Tigers never hit him but they never lose to him.

Over his career (1913-1921), Ayers went 10-13 with a 2.59 ERA against the Tigers. He went 54-65 with a 2.90 ERA against everybody else.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 11, 2017 at 10:08 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

They Stole Home in 1927. – Our Game

Let learned not to pitch from the wind-up with a man on third.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 11, 2017 at 08:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Monday, July 10, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-10-2017

Tacoma Times, July 10, 1917:

Despite the valiant efforts of Russ Hall, manager of the [Tacoma] Tigers, J.L. Davis, Butte Director, and Pete Jensen, Great Falls director, to keep the Northwestern league afloat, the old circuit last evening gave a final gasp, and sank sputtering beneath the waves of defeat.

The league has “flivvered.” Not because the directors all wanted to. But because D.E. Dugdale, Seattle magnate, was losing money thru his personal unpopularity with Seattle fans, and decided to use his influence to kill off the league.
...
Tacoma, Butte and Great Falls were making little money. But they were all swept aside by the autocratic will of the Seattle boss.

Sounds like the people of Tacoma didn’t dig Dugdale.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 10, 2017 at 10:43 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, July 07, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-7-2017

Butte Daily Post, July 7, 1917:

When “Indian” Smith, pitcher for the San Francisco Seals, went on the warpath the other day swinging a baseball bat it came near being the “happy hunting grounds” for Dan Murray, catcher for the Oakland club.

The Indian, so the boys say, objected strenuously to being called “[six-letter racial slur beginning with n redacted]” and Murray made the mistake of considering a serious matter a joke. He “got hep to himself” mighty quick after a whizzing bat purred past his ear.
...
Murray started a marathon across the field, with Smith close in behind, his warhoops cutting seconds from Murray’s time.
...
League officials believe Murray was sufficiently “disciplined” in the race from Smith, who was reprimanded.

‘Ballplayer gets angry about racist taunt; newspaper reporting on it uses different racist language.’

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 07, 2017 at 10:03 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, racism

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-6-2017

Philadelphia Public Ledger, July 6, 1917:

Charley “Red” Dooin, catcher for the [Chester, PA] Delaware County League team, has been given his release by Manager Frank Poth. The former manager of the Phillies failed in his comeback and only one hit for an average of .045 in nine games was registered by the “sorrel top.”

I know what Voros’ Law says, but jeez. The guy was in the major leagues in 1916 and he hit .045 in the Delaware County League in 1917.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 06, 2017 at 09:24 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The Neverending Refrain: Player Salaries and Major League Baseball | The National Pastime Museum

Read the article for the date of this quote.

The salary of the professional base-ball player is something often talked about, and the figures are generally placed too high, but for an actual fact, the professional player of to-day, providing he possesses ability of the right order, fares better than the ordinary member of any other profession. But his prosperity, as a general thing, is not of the lasting order, and the better paid some men are the worse off they are at the end of the season.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 05, 2017 at 06:16 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-5-2017

New York Sun, July 5, 1917:

Barney Dreyfuss and the Pittsburg Pirates slipped over a long shot on the baseball public when the announcement was made last night that Hugo Bezdek had been selected to succeed Jimmy Callahan as manager of the Pirates.
...
Bezdek is assuming charge of the Pirates with possibly scanter qualifications, judging from his past experiences, than any other pilot has in the big leagues for many a day.

The new Buccaneer boss has never managed a ball club in organized ranks. Furthermore, he has never even had a good minor league experience in a playing capacity. Bezdek has made his strongest bid for public recognition as a football player and coach.

If this isn’t the worst managerial hire in the modern history of baseball, it’s certainly close. Bezdek managed the Pirates through the end of the 1919 season and did a perfectly cromulent job, but I can’t even fathom what would lead someone to hire a football coach to manage a baseball team.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 05, 2017 at 09:35 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, history

Monday, July 03, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-3-2017

Butte Post, July 3, 1917:

Blind in one eye, William Forsythe, a 19-year-old pitcher, is trying to make his way in baseball fame despite his infirmity and a crippled pitching hand, like the famous “Miner”’ Brown.

Forsythe lost the thumb of his right hand several years ago, but a stumplike portion allows him to get a firm grip on the ball. He has a choice assortment of curves and pitches with great speed and control. He recently fanned 35 men in two games, holding his opponents to three hits in the first contest.

Forsythe never did make it as a pitcher, but made it as an actor*, starring in such films as Raising Arizona, Once Upon a Time in America, and Brian Bosworth’s feature film debut in Stone Cold.

* - This may be a different William Forsythe.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 03, 2017 at 09:15 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, June 30, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-30-2017

Chicago Eagle, June 30, 1917:

Nicholas Altrock is a ball player who can trace his ancestors back to the land of the kaiser. He is a regular German, but thus far has kept it a secret. Now that there is a mix-up between this country and Germany, however, Nicholas has taken it upon himself to be prepared and maintain an attitude of the strictest neutrality.

...he wandered into court in Washington recently and asked that his name be changed to “MacAltrock.” Nick believes the little dash of Scotch will deceive the dear old public and save him from many unpleasant moments on the ball field.

Altrock goes on to say that if he has to, he’s willing to change his name to Michael MacAltrock. (Seriously.)

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 30, 2017 at 08:09 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-29-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 29, 1917:

Something out of the ordinary is for an outfielder to make the putout on a player who is caught off first by a pitcher. Amos Strunk, Athletic center fielder, was the hero of this kind in a game played in Washington on June 20.
...
“Rube” Schauer detected Jamieson taking too long a lead off first in the eighth inning and his throw to McInnis started a run down play that was completed when Strunk, who helped in it, tagged Jamieson on the line and the back.

A trick American league outfielders apparently have forgotten is to sneak in from center and help trap a man off second. Two guardians of the middle mesa have accomplished such a feat—Tris Speaker when he was playing with the Redsox against the Indians and Jesse Clyde Milan of the Nationals against the Redsox.

When I played little league, I occasionally played center field. Once in a while, I’d sneak in behind a baserunner leading off second and call for the pitcher to throw me the ball.

100% of the time when I did that, the pitcher looked at me like I was a crazy person.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2017 at 09:57 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-28-2017

El Paso Herald, June 28, 1917:

Smoky Joe Wood, who essayed a comeback four weeks ago against the New York Yankees in Cleveland, must begin all over again. In other words, he overtaxed his arm when he pitched those eight innings…

When [Wood] told [his doctor] that he had pitched eight full innings, Dr. Drury threw up both hands, exclaiming: “It’s a wonder you have any arm left—you should have started gradually, finished up a game here and there, going one, possibly two innings, until your arm was entirely strong.”

That was Wood’s final major league start. He made six more relief appearances between 1917-1920, but Smoky Joe was almost exclusively an outfielder starting in 1918.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 09:42 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-27-2017

Butte Post, June 27, 1917:

The prince of southpaws is through.

Edward S. Plank, the greatest of them all, has pitched his last major league game, if reports from several of his friends are to be believed.

Suffering from a nervous breakdown and preparing for a minor operation, there is little chance that Plank will ever toe the rubber again.

When Plank left the Browns a few weeks ago, he was reported to have gone to his home in Gettysburg, Pa. He really went to a Philadelphia hospital.

The Post published this story on June 27, 1917. Plank pitched two scoreless innings for the Browns on June 28, 1917.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 27, 2017 at 10:02 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, eddie plank, history

Monday, June 26, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-26-2017

Since we missed it over the weekend…

New York Sun, June 24, 1917:

A no hit, no run, no man reached first base pitching performance by Ernest Shore, Boston twirler [and] an assault upon Umpire Owens by Babe Ruth…were incidents of the world champions’ double victory over Washington to-day. The scores were 4 to 0 and 5 to 0.

Shore’s entry into the select list of pitchers who have shown perfect performances was made possibly by Ruth’s banishment from the first game. Ruth had pitched only to Ray Morgan and Umpire Owens had given the latter his base on balls. Ruth argued the decision. The umpire ordered him off the field and Ruth then struck at Owens.

Shore came in, Morgan was caught stealing second, and then Shore retired 26 batters in a row for one of the most memorable pitching performances in history.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 26, 2017 at 10:38 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, perfect games

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